Luton chief wants his side to write their own history

Some of Luton Town's players from the 1980s take to the stage at Luton Hoo
Some of Luton Town's players from the 1980s take to the stage at Luton Hoo

Town boss Nathan Jones has urged his side to write their own history at Kenilworth Road.

The Luton chief was one of over 300 people who attended Luton Hoo last week to see the Hatters’ legends from the 1980s reunited as part of the club’s Christmas celebrations.

We want to make sure that we write our own history and whatever that is, we want it to be a positive.

Nathan Jones

More than 20 of the Town squad who reached the top flight and flourished during a wonderful decade in which the Hatters won the Littlewoods Cup and reached two FA Cup semi-finals were present, including Mick Harford, Ricky Hill, Brian Stein, Raddy Antic and David Moss, along with manager David Pleat, assistant Trevor Hartley and physio John Sheridan.

When asked if he wanted his side to emulate what the ‘80’s Elite’ had managed to do, Jones said: “I don’t want to emulate David Pleat’s team.

“I respect everything they’ve done, David was a fantastic manager, I loved listening to him as he’s someone who I glean a lot of knowledge from, but I want us to carve our own pathway.

“I want us to be pioneers of our own destiny and if that means that in years to come, we’ll be remembered for something then brilliant, I would love that, I really would.

“But I don’t want us to emulate anyone, I want us to carve our own pathway.

“In terms of how we do things, there are similarities, because we want to play an attractive style of football which is what they did back in the 80s, but we want to carve our own pathway.

“We want to make sure that we write our own history and whatever that is, we want it to be a positive.”

Jones admitted to being heartened when spoken about in such a positive light by former Luton manager Pleat, who is now a well respected pundit.

He also thoroughly enjoyed talking football with the likes of Antic, who scored the goal to save the club from relegation at Manchester City in May 1983, which led to Pleat’s famous jig on the Maine Road pitch.

The current Luton boss said: “It was good as David doesn’t suffer fools gladly and he doesn’t say anything generically really.

“I have a good relationship with David, he comes into my office most home games when he’s there and we chat football.

“He doesn’t heap praise upon us, what he does is he’s very constructive in certain things that he says and I take that on board.

“It was a night we had at Luton Hoo which was a celebratory one for a wonderful side they had in the 80s, so just to be compared in the same breath to that team means that we’re doing things right and we’re very proud of that.

“We don’t get carried away, we’re very grounded here, but it is nice to be mentioned in that way.

“I spoke to Raddy Antic who has had wonderful career both as a player and manager and he mentioned certain things about what we do that unless you know football you won’t bring up those things.

“We’re very proud as it’s stuff we try to do, options and variations in how we play, he recognised that and that was wonderful to hear as well.

“It was a real good night and good for the club to celebrate those times because it’s a historic club Luton and I knew that.

“Being a manager you’re basically like a custodian of the traditions really of good football, attacking football and at this point in time we’re able to uphold that.”

Jones had actually be signed by Pleat as a player back in the summer of 1995, when Luton were in Division One, now the Championship, only to see the Town boss depart before the season had started, joining Sheffield Wednesday.

Jones himself only stayed a season, moving to Spain, and looking back at the course of events, he added: “He signed me, then left quite soon and kind of dropped me in the lurch, but I wouldn’t have changed my time here at Luton as I learnt a lot.

“I had an opportunity to go to Premier League or a Championship side in terms of David Pleat and I chose David for how he sold the club to me.

“For him to go was kind of a little bit of a kick in the teeth, but I learned so much, especially from Wayne Turner.

“He was one of the players in that 80s team, he opened my eyes to real detailed coaching and I owe him quite a lot for that.

“So I had a real good time, it wasn’t the most illustrious time in my career in any way, but it taught me well.

“I met some good people, got an affiliation with the club, knew that I loved it, which was a thing for when I came back.

“It was God’s will I believe that I came here as a player.

“Not many will remember me fondly as a player, but hopefully I will be better as a manager.”